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What if you get dehydrated?

What is dehydration?

Dehydration occurs when you pass more fluids out of your body than you take in.

What can cause dehydration?

  • An acute bout of diarrhoea caused by a tummy bug or food poisoning.
  • Drinking too much alcohol.
  • Hot and humid conditions which cause us to perspire more freely.

What are the signs you should be aware of?

  • An increased watery output from your stoma.
  • A decrease in the amount of urine you pass.
  • Very dark coloured urine.
  • Hangover like symptoms such as headache, dry mouth, increased thirst, feeling light headed or dizziness.
  • Any combination of the above symptoms.

Hints and tips

  • Drink 1 litre of rehydration solution over 24 hours. Rehydration solutions are Dioralyte or Rehydrate powder dissolved in 1 litre of water in 24 hours. They are available from your pharmacy.
  • Or you can drink Isotonic ‘sport’ drinks like Lucozade Sport – 1 litre in 24 hours. If you are a diabetic use only the rehydration solutions from the pharmacist.
  • Take an extra teaspoon of salt in 24 hours. This can be achieved by putting more salt directly onto your food, or by adding extra salt to your cooking.
  • Bovril or Marmite can be made into a drink or spread on toast/bread.
  • Eat salted crisps or crackers with added salt such as Ritz.
  • Remember to continue to drink your normal daily amount of water, squash, fruit juices etc in addition to the rehydration solutions. However you may wish to cut down on tea & coffee as both these can increase dehydration.
  • Try not to eat & drink at the same time.
  • If you have been prescribed anti diarrhoeal medication remember to take it 45-60 minutes BEFORE food.
  • Inform your doctor if tablets or capsules are passing straight through into your pouch. Most anti-diarrhoeal medicines are available in liquid form.
  • If you have any of the above symptoms and are feeling unwell, it is important to speak to your doctor or stoma care nurse without delay.

The following recipe for The World Health Organisation Oral Rehydration Solution can be made up in your own home:

  • 1/3-2/3 of a teaspoon of salt.
  • 3/4 of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
  • Juice of 1/2 an orange.
  • 3 & 1/3 tablespoons of sugar.
  • 1 litre (1 & 3/4 pints or 35 fluid ounces) of boiled or sterile water.

Make up a fresh solution daily & discard any left after 24 hours.

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